Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kiosk Art

In Portland every telephone pole was covered in
posters, notices, flyers and announcements.

Some were in the process of being cleaned off,
leaving amazing bits and pieces and detritus behind.

Beautiful artworks in themselves.

I couldn't resist capturing them on film
and sharing them with you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Aren't these fun? Dozens of little packages of colour! Each containing buttons, tags, brads, ribbon and, as they say, so much more!

I like to arrange the packages to try out different colour combinations and I must admit they really appeal to my tidy nature.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Florence Spalding - Angel of the Sea

Angel of the Sea 10x20"

Known as the "Gallipoli Nightingale", Florence Spalding served on the hospital ships at the Gallipoli landings from April of 1915 through the final evacuation 9 months later. Florence was twice Mentioned in Dispatches and awarded the Royal Red Cross Decoration for distinguished services in the field. She was also one of a handful of women whose names appear on the Roll of Honour for WWI.

Muted green, toffee brown and cream acrylics were applied in a block pattern and then all three colours were spattered over the background. The xerox of Spalding's face was adhered with matte medium. Strips of letters, maps, tissue, marbled and patterned paper were also applied using matte medium. Stencils of webbing and a nursing medal were painted over the papers.

Distressed copper sheeting, a copper painted cross and a WWI era ha'penny provide the finishing touches. A companion piece to Angel of the Air, both will be part of my upcoming show The Pity of War, which opens April 8 at Cambria's Allied Arts Gallery.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amy Johnson - Angel of the Air

Angel of the Air 10x20"

After viewing my Coventry Carol post a couple of months ago, Ann Somerset Miles of Journaling the Journal and Wild Somerset Child commented with several reminiscences of WWII, including the fact that her grandfather had worked with aviatrix Amy Johnson when she was transporting planes for the RAF. Johnson had quite a career in flying - she was the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia and she set time records for flights to Moscow, Japan and South Africa. During the war she held the rank of First Officer with the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) and was killed in 1941 while flying an Airspeed Oxford from Blackpool to Kiddlington. Johnson bailed out and drowned in the Thames Estuary before help could reach her.

I began by covering the canvas in muted blues, red iron oxide and cream acrylics, then splattered the surface with all three colours. The central xerox of Johnson was adhered with matte medium as were the dozens of bits of collage paper - including maps, letters, marbled paper, tissue paper and others. Stencils of an airplane and punchinello were painted over the top.

Final touches of dyed cheesecloth, distressed copper sheeting and a 1940 farthing (with another "flyer") complete the piece.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life on the Coast

View towards Moro Bay
from the top of Hwy 46

Yes, I do live in paradise!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

A few more tombstones from the Cayucos cemetery,
just up the road from us here in Morro Bay.

There's always something so poignant about the angels -
worn stone, sometimes missing a hand or a wing.

Eternally watching, and offering protection and solace.

Friday, March 25, 2011

From the Bookshelf - Old Favourites

I recently been re-reading this old favourite. One of the first of the ex-pat memoirs that have since flooded the book market. I think we all love to read these because there's a part of us - maybe down deep inside, or, not so deep - that hungers after the idea of leaving all behind and starting anew in a foreign clime. And, reading about others doing it often will feed the desire while we can remain safely at home! By the end of this story and the many others that followed it, Mayle's friends and neighbours are ours, we can feel the sun on our backs, smell the lavender, and taste the anise tang of the pastis as it glides slowly down our throats. A return trip to Provence is always a pleasure, well worth reading again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Portland Journal

Last week I showed you the board book I'm using for
my travel journal on our trip to Portland.

I spent a couple of hours getting it ready to take along.

Here are a few pictures of it after I prepped it for the trip.

When we're back next week,
I'll show you the pages again,
once they've been trip-a-fied!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Ticket stubs. Once people know you're collecting these, you will have a lifetime supply. Every time they are at a raffle or carnival they will gather them for you. Not a week goes by at work when I don't end up with a small (or big!) pile of tickets on my desk.

I have to laugh when I see a small package of a dozen or so at a craft or scrapbook store priced at $2.95 and up. Do you need some? Let me know. This is just a fraction of my entire collection!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm In! Beacon 4 Art Show

Saints & Crosses 24 x 36"

I have been accepted by the Beacon 4 Art Show in San Luis Obispo which will be presented at the United Methodist Church. My mixed media collage Saints & Crosses was voted in by the jury. The show will be open Thursday-Sunday 11:00 to 4:00 during the month of April. The opening reception on Friday April 1, 6:00-9:00, will be part of San Luis's monthly Art After Dark walk.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

The first day of Spring and we've been loving the profusion of bulbs at all the local farmer's markets. I can never decide if I love tulips best, or daffodils or iris. Or all three!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life on the Coast

Baby lambs in the fields along Highway One. This one's for our daughter Bronwyn, who spins and weaves and wants to run a sheep farm someday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Portland Here We Come!

When the Taos retreat was canceled, I found myself with credit for an airline ticket that I needed to use or lose. We've always wanted to visit Portland together, so today we are flying up to spend 5 days in the City of Roses. Staying at a lovely 1920's guesthouse in the Nob Hill area, close to cafes and great restaurants.

Big plans for the Pearl District, Alberta Street, Powell's Books, the Japanese Garden, some shopping, possibly a trip to Multnomah Falls. Packing the umbrellas and raincoats in case and planning to have a wonderful time.

We'll be home the end of next week, with lots of pictures and some great stories. See you then!

Friday, March 18, 2011

From the Bookshelf

What is this? Karen Katz's Brand New Baby Board Books . Now why, you are asking yourself, is Erin reviewing a new line of board books. Well, as you might have suspected I have artistic designs on them. They are a great size, 6 x 5 x 1.5" and have 14 pages, but the best thing is their heavy construction. The pages are thick and sturdy - almost like wood rather than cardboard. The pages are rimmed in colour and the whole book feels great to hold.

So what better thing to do with it than to prep it and use it for an altered book or a journal - for those short trips or special occasions. We're leaving for Portland tomorrow for several days and I have one of these, all gessoed and ready to go, in my bag. Can't wait to start using it - I'll keep you posted.
By the way, I guess you could actually get one and give it to a two year old also.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Art Girlz do Marketing

Recently Margot and I got together with a couple of artist friends for a marketing session. We all brought different strengths to the table; computer/web knowledge, writing/editing, blogging, local gallery contacts, etc., in addition to our various artistic talents and endeavors.

We each made out a list of what we planned to accomplish in the coming month to promote our art. Submitting an article, updating a website, publicity for an upcoming show, among other tasks. We'll meet next month and see how we did. It was energizing to bounce ideas around and provide support and encouragement for each other.

We followed the meeting with a delicious lunch at the Bayside Marina Cafe, eating on the deck and watching the egrets and herons glide by over the bay.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Mah Jong, anyone? I scored a ton of these counters a few years ago at the Santa Monica Flea Market. I had to buy the whole bag (but worth it) and now I have a lifetime supply!

I've used them in assemblage, collage, journals and passed quite a lot onto lucky friends. Let me know if you could use a few.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Camera!

Isn't she cute?

I have a new camera! I can now take better pictures! Or at least have less of an excuse for taking poor ones, LOL! It's a Canon PowerShot SX130IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 3.0-Inch LCD, which the younger generation in my life tells me is good stuff and after using it for a couple of weeks I have to agree - good stuff indeed! It amazes me that it does all this and cost less than half the price of the first digital camera I bought back in 2003. Ah, technology!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tell England

Tell England 16x20"

For 10 months the Allies tried to take the Dardenelles Straits. More than 200,000 lives were lost on the Gallipoli Peninsula before they were forced to retreat. The title of this piece is from the book by Ernest Raymond which deals with the individual lives of four young Englishmen and how they were affected by their time spent there. "Tell England, ye who pass this monument, We died for her, and here we rest content." is the epitaph written above a makeshift grave of one of the young soldiers, located in a battlefield, overlooking the sea.

The canvas was prepped with cheese cloth, pumice gel and gesso. I was going for four semi-horizontal layers representing the sea, sand, hills and sky. Craft acrylics in greens, cream, medium browns and light blues were used. Palm trees were added, and xerox copies of temporary graves and disembarking soldiers were adhered with matte medium.

The cheesecloth clouds were coloured in with cream glaze

with a touch of denim blue.

The soldier's epitaph furls across the sky and sand. The entire canvas was spattered with the palette of colours.

A small wooden cross, made of broken coffee stirrers and twine,

provides the finishing touch.

I have no idea what's going on with the font size, style and placement - but after 6 attempts to fix it, I've given up - I do apologize for the inconsistency.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life on the Coast

Sunset over Carmel Beach

Margot and I spent a delightful weekend in Carmel by the Sea a couple of weekends ago and Mother Nature cooperated. I was able to get some lovely shots of the sunset.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

We've visited cemeteries across the country and across the world, this one is just up the road (4 miles) in the little coastal town of Cayucos. I pass it everyday on my drive up Hwy 1 to the library in Cambria and this week decided to stop one early morning and get some pictures.

There are dozens of graves from the later half of the 19th century here and the cemetery is still welcoming new ones. Many of the names on the older tombstones are prominent in Cayucos even today.

I love the lamb, the photo and the lovely patina of this one.

A final resting place with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.

Friday, March 11, 2011

From the Bookshelf

What fun! This book goes way beyond altered books. Vases, placements, dresses, you name it - you can find out how to make it from used books in this delightful and well put-together volume.
Great eye candy and detailed and understandable instructions for the myriad of fascinating projects. Another winner from Quarry publishing. Now books are not just for reading, not just for altering - the sky's the limit!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Old Lie

The Old Lie 24x30"

The title for this piece comes from the poem by Wilfred Owen, whose title is taken from Homer's Ode, "Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori" - "It is sweet and right to die for your country."


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

I prepped the canvas with gesso, cheesecloth, and netting Acrylics in the colours of mud, smoke, and dead vegetation were splashed, spattered and dripped across the surface. Xerox copies of various WWI battles were coloured with water soluble oil pastels and adhered with matte medium.

Rusty bits and pieces of metal, old bullet casings, pieces of torn cloth, bits of brick and rock litter the canvas. As they littered the fields of Ypres, the Marne and Verdun, where men lay dying, with the echo of the guns overhead and "the old lie" whispered on the rising wind.